Tour Alison Rice’s Sun-Drenched Beachside Retreat
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we head to the beachside apartment of Alison Rice. The editor, consultant and podcast host is one of the most prolific women in Australian media, having worked as a journalist for 12 years leading lifestyle websites including Who What Wear and POPSUGAR. Today, she’s the host of Offline, a podcast that advocates for honest, open conversations about true self and "life on the other side of the filter." Guests on the extremely popular podcast have included everyone from astrologist Nadine Jane to P.E. Nation's Pip Edwards. Here, sit down with Rice to discuss her home aesthetic, her approach to business and why she likes to meditate in bed.
At one point, Rice and her husband lived in Redfern. It made sense: Redfern is all of Sydney life in one place, a suburb of hustle and bustle that never (or at least, very rarely) sleeps. It attracts busy professionals, people whose feet rarely touch the ground. But seven years ago Rice wanted a proverbial sea change. Swapping inner city madness for beachside relaxation, settling in Bondi, this multi-hyphenate now never wants to live anywhere else.
At their apartment the interior design aesthetic is “warm”, as Rice puts it. By that she means not just the light that pours into the apartment but the way each room is styled with rich colours, plenty of lamps and a lot of ambiance. The temperature is “warm”, too, which is what makes the flat so cosy, the kind of place you want to linger right through the afternoon and late into the evening if you’re lucky enough to get an invite over. Take a peek inside, and read on as we we flip the script and put Rice in the seat of interviewee, for a change.
Hi Alison! First off, this series is called “The Makers”. What is it that you make?
Thank you for having me.
I perhaps see myself less as a maker and more as a facilitator. Through my podcast, I help tell and share stories that create entry points for women to explore their own. It’s the most important work I’ve ever done. It’s called Offline, and in it I have honest conversations with the people behind the Instagram accounts and the teachers who help us on our way. We explore life on the other side of the filter and the concept of True Self.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
Telling stories is in my DNA. I’ve been working as a journalist for 12 years, but beyond the training, I’m empathic so I tend to feel people’s energy and emotions before I see them or hear them speak. What I’ve learned is this way of being in the world while sometimes intense, is my strength as a storyteller. Experiencing someone else’s emotions allows me to interact with them on a soul level.
How would you describe what you do for a living?
I help women explore True Self and empower them to heal.
What’s something we don’t know about you?
I think I’ve given it all up on the podcast!
Now the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
My beautiful husband Tony and I have lived in our apartment for seven years this October. We moved from Redfern to Bondi in 2012 seeking a change of lifestyle, and now I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
We’d seen a handful of apartments but none of them felt right. I’m a Cancerian so my home is my safe place. We decided to look at one apartment that was out of our price range just to see what we could get. We’d been inside for less than five minutes when Tony told the real estate agent we’d be applying. We were approved the following day.
What sealed the deal for me was inside the old bread and milk box by the door stood a little surfer figurine. Our protector! He’s still in there and he’s not to be touched. I write my hopes and dreams onto Post It Notes and place them beside him.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
The place was perfect when we moved in because it had just been renovated. Our landlord has impeccable taste.
How does your home reflect you as a person and your values?
Well, it’s warm—temperature, lighting and colours. I am a lamp light person and the moment I walk into the house, I set about creating ambiance and a feeling of comfort and security.
We don’t have a lot of stuff but everything we do have has an emotional memory attached to it—that’s very me. Our home is also an extension of my spirit and I guess my devotion to exploring what spirituality means to me personally. From the tarot cards I use daily to spiritual books, decade-old loved and used crystals, sticks of Palo Santo, sage, candles, a lunar calendar and sandalwood incense—these rituals and practices are a big part of how I spend my time in our home.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
I would say it’s ever-changing and evolving. I relax by moving stuff around and creating new ways to interact with our space. But my overall aesthetic is warm tones, luxurious textures and a modern take on Mid Century.
What are your 3 favourite pieces in your home and why do you love them?
I am obsessed with our handmade coffee table from Mitchell Road Auction House. I go picking alone a lot to unwind and connect with the past, and our coffee table is by far my favourite find. I also adore our deep red velvet Lounge Lovers armchair, and our Josh Robenstone prints. He’s a friend of Tony’s and we love supporting his work. The two photos we have hanging above the lounge were actually taken five years apart but I think they work together so beautifully.
Which is your favourite room in the house and why?
I love our lounge room because that’s where we come together at the end of the day to talk, touch and enjoy a home cooked meal. Our apartment isn’t big enough for a dining table so we just eat on the lounge and it’s perfect. I also do Skye coaching sessions from the lounge room so the vibrational frequency in this room is sky high!
Tell us about your bedroom.
I meditate sitting up in bed each morning. Our bedroom is also the place I worship my body. We have a long mirror and I use it to pause and give gratitude to my healthy body. I’m also very into mirror work so if you walked in on me you’d likely hear me having positive and inspiring conversations with myself! A big part of Self work is redefining how we speak to ourselves.
Which are your favourite objects in your bedroom?
My An Organised Life Cancer notebook. I have all my special Self work and passages in it. I don’t journal, but I do have very intentional Self sessions where I explore a practice, a body of knowledge or a philosophy at length.
What does getting a good night’s sleep mean to you?
Eight hours of deep sleep is ideal for me but if I don’t get it, the 20 minutes of meditation I do in the morning makes up for any hours lost. And then I’ve found it is best for my body to rise slow from there. Eight years of hard and sharp starts at 6am really took its toll.
Beyond the amount of hours, getting a good night’s sleep means I have more to give. My role in this lifetime is to be in service to others so sleep is very sacred to me because it allows me to show up more fully.
What is your favourite local hotspot and why?
Good One Café is the best! The owner Scott is just so hospitable, and chatting and laughing with him is a big part of our weekend. They make their own almond milk and do the best sticky chai. I gave up coffee a few months ago so yes, I’m a chai person now.
Tell us about Offline. What was the catalyst behind launching it and how has it evolved since launch?
When I was leading POPSUGAR and Who What Wear, I started to feel a real duty of care as a leader in women’s lifestyle publishing to show more—struggle, pain, mistakes. I was genuinely worried we have an incapacity to show anything less than perfection because so much of what we consume is highly stylised and over-produced. But it is a fake reality and I felt young women trying to find their way in a world lived almost exclusively online needed to know that.
That leadership role gave me the opportunity and platform to build some really special relationships with influential women, which got me thinking; in the right setting with the right intention, could they help me support young women by sharing more of their stories?
And not their business or lady boss stories, but their True Self stories. What experiences have shaped their morals, ethics, opinions, values and character? What does the person behind the massive following and curated feed stand for?
So in September 2018, Offline was born! My goal was never to go viral, but I think the success its already seen is because it comes from my heart. Offline is authentically me. It’s an extension of who I am and it’s more than a podcast. It is a resource for women who want to go deeper and heal.
How do you decide on who to ask on as a guest?
It’s a feeling.
Finally, tell us about the favourite projects you’ve worked on or are working on.
Right now I’m working hard to bring Offline’s kind and loyal listeners more entry points and opportunities to explore True Self. This is bigger than me but I am so happy I’m the vessel!